So, how much is Cats Tea Party actually worth?

かわいいデ-タの物語

Kawaii Data no Monogatari

How much is Cats Tea Party worth? Why is it so expensive? This question has plagued people in kawaii fashion circles for many years. By which I mean, since approximately 2014. So three years.

It’s bothered me for a while too, so I decided to finally, definitively find out using the only tools I had available to me; crowdsourced data, some spreadsheets and a recently acquired knack for data visualisation.

The result is this.

Sales values of Angelic Pretty Cats Tea Party since 2012 (separated by colour)

cats tea party scatter graph

NB: Prices are calculated in GBP because I am English and that’s the money I use.

At this point we have to do a bit of dull conversation about the methodology of this data and how we got here.

Basically, our definition of “unsold” doesn’t actually mean that dress wasn’t worth the listed sale price. Sometimes we would find what we thought was a sale, only to look into the user feedback and find it was actually a scam or someone had backed out. So for example, the buyer on the graph WOULD have paid £2,800 for the dress – but unfortunately the seller backed out. We decided to keep these unsold values in the chart and include them in our work because they do tell us something about how much people think the dress is worth.

Why is Cats Tea Party so damn expensive then?

cats tea party JSK pink

One part of the reason that Cats Tea Party is so expensive, is that it’s incredibly rare. But just how rare is it? This anecdote gives us a bit of an idea.

“A small art gallery called Parabolica Bis in eastern Tokyo had an Imai Kira exhibit. There was special merch on sale, including tshirts with the snooty cats on them that anyone could buy. During the exhibition, there was an AP tea party at that small gallery with a limit of about 20 people, and a sample CTP was on display. People who attended and reserved the dress got an Imai Kira print as a bonus.

The reservation period wasn’t very long, so I think it’s likely that less than 50 exist.”

– Abiba and Alice on Facebook, who were living in Tokyo at the time.

You can see the original new post discussing the gallery opening here.

Update: More info has surfaced about the original conditions of ordering the dress.

“Myself and another Australian girl ordered through chibi-tenshi when they put up the online MTO. Originally chibi-tenshi intended to go to the tea party, but there was a colossal screw up with the tickets to the tea party. The exhibit itself was open for longer, but only a selection of items (these ones! http://www.angelicpretty.com/news/godoten/goods.htm) were available, you couldn’t order the dress there. We had to wait a bit for confirmation, but at some stage (I think after the tea party) AP agreed to do an open MTO online and in store. My emails indicate it went up online for reservation on the 25th of August and this is the first post about it on the Tokyo store blog for reservation (http://yaplog.jp/ap-tokyo/archive/6906).

I’m having difficulty locating any further information about the online reservation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t much since I think it actually wasn’t very popular with many people (I think you either loved it or didn’t care about it) and the initial price likely further put off a number of people who did really like it at the time.”

– Lindzi on Facebook, who ordered the dress online

Another reason that the dress may be so expensive is that it is one of the few modern pieces manufactured in Japan. We know that by 2010 Angelic Pretty were already manufacturing in China, so being made in Japan gives this piece that extra wow factor. Kira had been creating postcard art of AP prints for some time, and they had collaborated previously on ‘Candy-chan on a walk,’ which was a screen printed design. It’s possible that a move to digital printing made it possible for the two to collaborate again.

Also, it’s cats having tea. It’s just inherently want-able.

So we know basically why it’s expensive, but exactly how expensive is it?

Pink Prices

Average price for pink cats tea party, including no sales: £1,146.35

Average price for pink cats tea party, excluding no sales: £1,234.26

Our overall valuation of pink cats tea party: £1,190.30

Grey Prices

Average price for grey cats tea party, including no sales: £1,257.58

Average price for grey cats tea party, excluding no sales: £742.10

Over overall valuation of grey cats tea party: £999.84

We did not expect the grey to go for less than the pink. In our opinion it’s worth more, because we think there are less of them about but this is what the numbers say. If we remove the most recent value, the average price goes up to £1,114.33 which is possibly more accurate.

The most recent piece of data for grey cats tea party, which is dragging the price down, was actually a sale at Closet Child Ikebukuro. A source from Japan told us that CC is run by people who don’t share the same obsessive knowledge of lolita that would say…cause someone to write a blog post about average sales prices of a dress… and instead they keep more up to date with popular current releases. Knowing that, it’s easy to see how they would end up low balling the price!

Fun Trivia We Learned on the way

I called this post kawaii data no monogatari because we learned a lot of fun but ultimately useless knowledge along the way that we thought would be great to share!

Did you know that nobody has ever split a Cats Tea Party set? Nobody has ever lost a bow, or a choker or had bits fall off any part of the garment. The worst thing that’s happened to any dress being re-sold is some light stains.

USA map

Outside of Japan, the biggest fans of cats tea party are in the US! We think there is at least nine owners of the dress in the US.

uk map

We’ve found out that there is only one known cats tea party set in the UK! Someone has also owned the cutsew.

The most well travelled dress went from Japan, to Australia, to the USA. It’s travelled roughly 19,929 kilometres across the world. That’s the size of 1,246 of the front of the Palace at Versailles (108m).

1246 palaces of versailles

The second most well travelled dress went from Japan, to Finland, to the US.

The biggest fan of the dress is Lacemarket user Hervia, who has owned and sold the dress twice. Hervia is US based, and sold the dress to sailorenceladus in California, who then sold it on to another Californian. Road trip!

The most sales of Cats Tea Party happened on Lacemarket – surprise, surprise.

Conclusion

So now we know, sort of conclusively, that the current price of cats tea party is around £1,000. We also know why it’s so expensive.

If you know of a sale of cats tea party that you can prove, please comment down below and we will come back every couple of months or so and update all the numbers. If there is truly 50 dresses in existence, wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to find all of them?

We really hope you enjoyed reading this nonsense, please feel free to suggest any other elements of lolita fashion that you’d like us to do a data piece about in the comments too. Or, if you want to know more about this dress, please leave a comment below!

Finally, if you would like to see the original data, please click here.

Other Boring Points about Methodology

To get our final values for the dress, we used two websites. The first one converted the currency on the date of sale and the second adjusted that value for inflation to the current year. We did this because we felt it was the only way to make a fair comparison.

Secondly, our data is by no means conclusive. Though we looked for listings on livejournal, lacemarket, mercari, yahoo auctions and mbok many of these sites don’t allow you to see unsold items or previous sales unless you have a direct link to the original auction. We also attempted to find sales on the Chinese resale market, but were not able to.

Shout Outs and Thank You-s

This post wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of teamwork. Firstly I’d like to thank all who have contributed to the data collection so far. Though we wish we had more data it was amazing that we were able to collect any data about such a tiny niche thing in the first place. Next, a big shout out to Jo for her help and for suffering my endless ramblings about this project. Then I’d like to thank Kyra for trawling Japanese auction sites and finding some really interesting tidbits of info. Also Abiba for providing her quote about the initial production.

A BIG shout out to the team at egl.circlly.com for their cracking website. Not only did they have the best interface and richest data, but the ability to filter all previous sales of the dress was a god send during this project.

Thanks to freevectormaps.com for some of the maps used in this post.

21 thoughts on “So, how much is Cats Tea Party actually worth?

  1. Kristie Pennock

    Great post! Nothing like Lolita-themed data sets to brighten my day 😉 Seriously, I love all of the background information as well as the price information. It puts it all into perspective when you realize a print like CTP was likely limited to fewer than 50 sets.

    1. nadinaosmani Post author

      YESSS DATA FRIENDS. <3 I was a little bit worried that nobody would care about dress data as much as I do, so I'm really happy to see everyone else is as much of a nerd as I am.
      It's mental isn't it! Maki and Asuka are coming to London for a tea party club event this year, and we're planning to ask them if they can confirm this because it's still a bit speculative - if there really is only about 50 and that becomes common knowledge then I think the price will skyrocket. OOPS.

  2. Candice

    Hey i had CTP in grey that i sold for $3000 2 years ago via Facebook. I think the girl eventually sold it, but i think it was for less. I just bought the grey set again for about $925 off y!japan back in March this year. Hope that helps! Im really suprised to see that the grey has gone for so much less!

    1. nadinaosmani Post author

      Ahh that’s awesome thank you for letting me know, I’ll add these to the spreadsheet and we’ll do an update either within the next couple of weeks or at the end of the month. You wouldn’t happen to know roughly what month you sold your grey set in would you? Also where are you based – is that US dollars or AUS dollars? Thanks again! <3

  3. Anon

    Someone in New Zealand owns both colors but would never sell. They brought directly from Japan when it was released. Is there anyway to get in contact with AP for information on how many were sold I each colorway what they released the colab. There would have to be far more then 50 just this is usually something to special to sell to most lolita on this side of the world atleast (aus/nz)

    1. nadinaosmani Post author

      I totally agree, I think there’s potentially more dresses out there than we’re aware of and a lot of people will have bought them and kept them. Maki and Asuka are coming to London this august, so we’re going to try and ask them!! But if there is only 50, then that’s two more checked off the list and we might even be able to make a map of where they all are, which would be really exciting!!

  4. Luna

    Hey! I think the Chinese owners and buyers should be considered in the data, too. There is a Chinese second hand market called xianyu, where you can find almost everything, and also many rare Lolita dresses. I have found two current sellers, one in grey (https://2.taobao.com/item.htm?id=556631366030&spm=a230r.1.14.41.ebb2eb2VDhRIe&ns=1&abbucket=14#detail) and one in pink (https://2.taobao.com/item.htm?id=556145718004&spm=a230r.1.14.17.ebb2eb2VDhRIe&ns=1&abbucket=14#detail), the pink is only on sale for people who buy it in combination with many other dresses of the owner. But you can not find any sold items there, so I think there could be a couple more Chinese Lolitas who had and sold theirs or still have it. I hope this will help.
    P.s. If there is anything I can do, e.g. translate, I’d love to. I like this data based reasearch, very professional.

    1. nadinaosmani Post author

      Yes!! We really wanted Chinese data but we struggled to find it, thank you so much!!!!
      How much would you say was the price for the pink dress on it’s own? It’s hard to tell because it’s listed with other dresses. :S
      This is definitely something we struggled with throughout, only on lacemarket it seems you can find data about previously sold items.
      If you wanted to translate parts of the post or share it on weibo so that other chinese lolitas could contribute their sales that would be so cool!

  5. Luna

    The price is really hard to say, but fact is, that you have to spend at least 10000 yuan for other dresses or buy at least 10 other dresses to have the chance to get the Ctp in pink for 5000 yuan.
    I will do this when I am at my computer again. At the moment I am on vacation and cannot log in on my tablet, since I dont know my Weibo password anymore which is saved on my computer >_<

  6. xnightmare-doll

    I am the original owner of Cat’s Tea Party in grey. I am from Australia. A friend of mine (mintiemii on Lace Market, also from Australia) bought the pink colourway, but she has since sold it.
    I have no intention of selling, but I have had an offer of 1200 USD for it.

    This post was very fun to read, I am incredibly impressed with your research, keep up the excellent work!

  7. Tsukiyokage

    I would like to see data about AP’s Freshly Picked Strawberries. Especially the apron style skirt which I cannot find anywhere. I cannot find any records of sale up to 2 years past the original release. However I did see that the print was re-released at this year’s La Foret Grand Bazaar. I will do some more digging but, as your research capabilities extend way beyond mine, I would be very interested to see what you come up with. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Keep at it!

    1. nadinaosmani Post author

      How interesting! A quick look on lacemarket shows three sales of the apron style skirt – but they have all been in the US around 2014. One has also sold on Mercari, looks like an internal Japanese sale. In general it seems to be a very uncommon cut to re-sell – I often think that super casual cuts like this stay in people’s cupboards for longer because they can be worn easily day to day. Will keep an eye on it!

  8. Electricspacecarousel

    I found a few japanese sales of the dresses, not sure if you have them featured in the graph, so I’ll just share them all.

    Found this pretty recent sale of a NWT Pink CTP when searching for Imai Kira on Fril. Based on the comments and feedback from the buyer it was sold around the 20th of August? https://item.fril.jp/a989a127851b53c3d9f52341cc768898

    Second Pink set sold on Fril: https://item.fril.jp/4ecfe63d0faacdd69c485137ea956902

    This one was on mbok, sold back in February for pretty cheap! Found it through google image search with the japanese name for CTP. https://www.mbok.jp/item/item_492906458.html

    Same search method, found a Buyee link of a yahoo auction that ended in January 2017. http://buyee.jp/item/yahoo/auction/w163923454

    On sale atm, no bids yet. https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/f223067496

    Very excited to hear if Maki and Asuka can answer how many CTPs there are!

  9. PumpkinWings

    I own the grey set! I’m Swedish, and I bought it during the reservation. Watching the price steadily rise during the first year after release was my main source of schadenfreude that year. XD Just adding this here for anyone who wants to locate the sets – I have absolutely NO intention of selling it. This was an interesting read, though!

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